COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Sophomore Michael Helman of Hutchinson (KS) has been named the 2017 American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) / Rawlings NJCAA Division I Baseball Player of the Year, as announced by Division I Baseball Committee on Wednesday. Helman becomes the first player in Blue Dragon history to garner the award.
A native of Lincoln, Nebraska, Helman boasted a season for the record books at Hutchinson. The primary second baseman set a school record for hits in a season with 111, which led all NJCAA Division I hitters. Helman’s .487 batting average in 2017 also led the nation and is the third highest mark since 2012. The sophomore also led the NJCAA in runs scored with 103.
Helman attributed his success to the environment of Blue Dragon baseball. “Attending Hutchinson had to be one of the best decisions I’ve made,” Helman stated. “I couldn’t have asked for a better group of coaches and teammates that pushed me and supported me along the way. They are a top notch coaching staff and I truly believe that this award reflects how good of a job they did in developing me as a baseball player.”
The national player of the year award adds to Helman’s other impressive accolades for 2017. Helman earned first team All-Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference (KJCCC) and first team All-Region 6 honors as well as the KJCCC Western Division Most Valuable Player. The sophomore led the KJCCC in average, hits, on base percentage, slugging percentage, and runs scored. He also ranked inside the top-three in the conference in home runs, RBI, and stolen bases.
Hutchinson head coach Ryan Schmidt noted Helman’s all-around impact he had on the Blue Dragon program. “Michael Helman is a very special player and also a very special person. I don’t know if you will find a more deserving person of this award both on and off the field. I wish people could see the unselfishness and genuine care that he had for his teammates.”
“Michael is a dynamic player that can beat you in a lot of ways,” Schmidt continued. “He has a great approach at the plate and his versatility makes him a hard guy to defend. Our team benefited greatly from the on base percentage and stolen bases that gave other players opportunities they might not get in a normal year. The season that he put together was fun to watch. The coaching staff, his teammates, and the people at Hutchinson will be impacted forever with what he accomplished here.”
Helman’s contributions on the field helped guide the Blue Dragons to their best season in program history, tying a school record for wins with 47 while claiming the KJCCC West Championship. Hutchinson also achieved a program-best national ranking of No. 3 and reached the Region 6 title game.
After graduating from Hutchinson with a degree in General Studies, Helman has committed to play baseball at Texas A&M next season where he will study business.
Click here for list of past ABCA Player of the Year winners.
About the ABCA
The ABCA, founded in 1945, is the primary professional organization for baseball coaches at the amateur level. Its over 8,000 members represent all 50 states and 25 countries. Since its initial meeting of 27 college baseball coaches in June 1945, Association membership has broadened to include eight divisions: NCAA Division I, II and III, NAIA, NJCAA, Pacific Association Division, High School and Youth. The 74th annual ABCA Convention will be held Jan. 4-7, 2018 in Indianapolis, Indiana.